The United Nations has been playing a good offices role in Yemen since the uprisings in early 2011. The UN’s efforts are led by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. In June 2015, the Envoy convened a first round of peace talks in Geneva. A second round of intra-Yemeni discussions took place in Switzerland in December 2015. On 10 April 2016, a cessation of hostilities came into effect between the parties to the conflict, which paved the way for further talks. Peace negotiations resumed in Kuwait from April to August 2016 under UN auspices with the aim to reach an agreement on ending the violence and devastation in the country. On 6 August 2016, Special Envoy Ould Cheik Ahmed announced that the process would enter a new phase after a one-month break during which “the focus will be on working with each side separately to crystalize precise technical details”. Preparations are under way for a fourth round of UN mediated talks at a time and place to be announced.
One of the poorest countries in the Middle East, Yemen has been experiencing a humanitarian crisis fuelled by conflict and widespread insecurity, large-scale displacement, civil strife, political instability, chronic food shortages, a breakdown of social services, endemic poverty and refugee influxes. The situation has been rapidly deteriorating since the country formed a new Government, in November 2014, aimed at ending a period of political turbulence and bringing about a full transition towards democracy.